Nidalee Build Guide by
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Hey everyone, this is SnowKiss, and this is my first guide ever posted on the internet. I have loved Nidalee ever since I bought her, and I strongly encourage any of you who haven't bought her to go do so right now. She is, in my opinion, one of the most fun champions in the entire game. Her versatility and mobility give you so many options, and you can play her however you want to, at any time. I hope you all enjoy reading my guide to Nidalee, have fun taking down your opponents.
Please fully read through the guide before voting, and please, for my benefit, post a comment on why you voted how you did. I'd love to improve this guide any way I can, and remember, I'm always updating and adding more to it.
Little side note (and a huge thank you!):
This guide is now the Nidalee Guide on Mobafire!!!
Thank you all so much for your support!
Pros / Cons
AP Nidalee Pros:
-Amazing Chasing Potential
-Great at Finishing Enemies Off
-She can Turn into a Cougar
-Good Map Awareness with Bushwhack
-Can Thrive in Any and Every Lane
-Tons of Mobility with Prowl and Pounce
-Good Escape Potential
-Can Pull Off Some Really Nice Plays
-Has no Innate Crowd Control
-Mana Hungry if You Aren't Careful
-Enemy Crowd Control is a Huge Problem for her
-Very Hard to Master
Heal: A fantastic alternative to ignite. Provides good sustain, but the main benefit is that speed boost. Wonderful for escaping, and in some occasions, for chasing someone down. Feel free to trade Ignite for this at any time, depending on match up.
Flash: This spell is great for Nidalee as it provides both a way to catch up to enemies while Pounce is on cooldown. Also, you can use Flash as a immediate good way to get away from chasing enemies. When playing Nidalee, I try to always escape using Pounce and run into nearby bushes to activate Prowl, but it never hurts to have an extra escape. Your ability to make and react to plays is multiplied by quite a bit when you bring Flash. Should almost never be replaced.
Prowl: Nidalee now receives +10% Movement Speed in all directions while Hunting, which increases to +30% movement speed toward Hunted targets.
Damaging champions with Javelin Toss or Bushwhack marks them as 'Hunted' for 4 seconds, granting Nidalee vision of them, 30% increased movement speed toward them (within a range of 5500) and enhancing her next Takedown, Pounce, and Swipe against them.
-Gives 30% movespeed when moving toward enemy champions
-Applies the "Hunted" debuff on targets, granting vision and buffing Nidalee's cougar form abilities.
Riot is putting an emphasis on Nidalee's chasing potential by buffing it up, while drawing back on her escaping potential as a whole. Riot is clearly outlining that her human form is for marking from a distance, and cougar form is for going in for the kill.
Javelin Toss: Nidalee tosses her javelin, dealing magic damage. If it exceeds her basic attack range it gains damage based on distance flown, up to a cap at 80% of its additional range.
-Heavily nerfed the damage.
-Applies the "Hunted" debuff.
Now this skill is mostly for marking your opponent, and not for hard poking. Goodbye 1 shot ADC kills, we will miss you.
Takedown: Nidalee's next attack deals magic damage. Takedown deals additional damage to targets at lower health, up to 250% total damage.
Now deals a bonus 33% extra damage when used on a "Hunted" target. Use it as a finisher.
Bushwhack: Nidalee lays a Bushwhack trap. When an enemy springs the trap, they are revealed in addition to taking damage over 4 seconds.
-Duration decreased to 2 minutes (from 4 minutes).
-Deals a percent of current health as magic damage.
-Applies the "Hunted" debuff.
Deals a pretty decent amount of damage now. Definitely use it to scout and to defend yourself. Late game, throw them onto heavily used jungle paths to try and catch enemies away from their team.
Pounce: Nidalee lunges forward a short distance, dealing magic damage to enemies in the landing area.
Now has 700 range when used on a "Hunted" target (the animation is the same). Amazing for chasing enemies down. Nidalee finally has a gap closer! (Keep in mind that the new cooldown is very long compared to before (5 whole seconds, first world problems I know), it takes some practice to get adjusted to it). Killing a minion with Pounce will reduce its cooldown to 1 second.
Primal Surge: Nidalee heals a target ally champion and grants them bonus attack speed for 6 seconds.
Swipe: Nidalee claws at enemies, dealing magic damage in an area in front of her.
Now reduces Pounce's cooldown to 1 second if used on a "Hunted" enemy.
Aspect of the Cougar: Nidalee's rare gimmick ability (similar to Elise and Jayce). You do begin the game with this ability already at skill level 1, giving you two beginning skills for the price of one. Because you have so many more skills than other champions, you will have to learn to combo better, and how to position yourself for both ranged and melee abilities/attacks. This is why Nidalee's skill cap is so high. All I can say is that you have to practice. A lot. It really helps, trust me. Another reminder, this does have a cooldown (albeit a short one), so be careful. Don't change forms to often, you might need the other side of Nidalee at a moments notice and not be able to change.
A quick note: If an enemy gets the "Hunted" debuff while Nidalee is in Human Form, Cougar Form immediately resets it's cooldown.
Last hit, last hit, last hit.
As Nidalee (or any champion really, besides support champions), you are going to need a whole lot of farm to be successful late game. Make sure to attack any and all enemy minions near you that have low health. If it helps, click on them and check their remaining health before right clicking on them, at least until you get used to estimating their health immediately. It will become second nature eventually to last hit. Try not to push when you want to farm; this will hurt your farming potential and put you in a dangerous place.
(A quick note on frequently heard advice):
You've probably heard/read that you should last hit a melee minion under a tower after the tower has hit is twice, and for caster minions to hit them once, let the the tower attack them, and then hit them again. While this is theoretically true, and it does work, it doesn't factor in your minions attacks on the enemy minions, which may adversely affect your farming. Try to counter push if your opponent is hard pushing, because getting stuck under your tower could end not so well for you.
Freezing the lane is a different story. If you can pull off zoning your opponent by last hitting correctly close to your tower (but not under it), by all means do so for as long as possible. It will also make your lane very hard to gank for the enemy, and very easy to gank for your teammate.
Just wanted to put a quick chapter about ganking as Nidalee in this guide for those who need a push in the right direction.
-Change to cougar form.
-Spam Pounce and walk through bushes to get to a side lane.
-Try to avoid general ward areas, try going through the jungle if you can/know it's safe.
-Try to wait for your target to stop moving, then throw a well aimed Javelin Toss.
-They will probably know you are there now, so signal to your teammates who to focus and then jump in with whatever combo of Nidalee skills suit you the best.
-If they get away, never fear, throw a final Javelin Toss in their direction and casually walk away.
-Did you get the kill (or feed the attack damage carry)? Yes? Hurray! Gank successful.
-Did you get the kill? No? Think about how you could improve next time. Hopefully you still did enough damage to send your opponents scurrying back to recharge their hitpoints, which is still a moderately successful gank. Give yourself a pat on the back and head back to your lane.
On the journey to Platinum, I have found a few useful insights that I thought I would just write down really quickly.
Wall of text incoming.
1. Flash Early
The "problem" that a lot of people tend to have is conservation. When you get ganked, your natural instinct is to save flash for the last possible moment. Forget the Malphite ultimate and Leona stun coming your way. You'll just survive the burst and walk away with half of your health, right? Wrong. Most likely, you'll end up burning flash anyway, but too late to actually save you. By now, ignite is ticking away and there's nothing more you can do. How to remedy this? Is the Darius within licking distance and about to pull you? Flash early. Now I'm not saying to blow your flash just because you feel a bit skittish, have a good reason, but employing the flash earlier in the gank as opposed to later will save you many more time than you might think. Quick reactions = survival (and hopefully some burned ultimates on their side).
2. For God's Sake, Buy Wards
Yes, I am saying this one again. Want to know why? Recently, buying wards has become an even lower priority for the majority of players. Why? Trinkets. Long story short, just because you have a single (long cooldown I might add) ward with you at all times does not mean you should abandon buying wards altogether. Just trust me on this one.
3. It's Dangerous to Go Alone
This one is especially for ADC's, but listen up regardless. If it is mid-late game and you are not a split pusher, you need to be with your team. Unless specifically asked to do so, you shouldn't just be wandering around, farming alone, chasing enemies. You get the idea. Strength in numbers (and comon, free peels!).
4. Practice What You Preach
So this one hits a very personal spot with me. First of all, don't be one of those players who complains every five seconds about everyone else on their team. Mistakes happen. Does whining help? Not even a little bit. In fact it is extremely counterproductive and takes all of the fun out of a team game. That being said, constructive criticism is fine, in moderation. Remind your teammates to ward, or to play passive while they wait for a gank. If they refuse to listen to you, stop bothering them. Work with the teammates that are cooperative and hope that the outlier comes around. Lastly, and most importantly, if you are giving actual helpful advice, expect actual helpful advice from others. Listen to it, and change accordingly. Calling all of the shots is not the way to victory, learn and grow, don't be that one guy that everyone cannot stand playing alongside.
The usual - respect pick order, don't steal lanes from others, go where you're needed. Too often players choose to throw games before they even begin. If you really want to go Jax because you just bought that new skin, but your team is missing a support, support. Assuming that everyone follows this courtesy, your games will start off on the right foot. Positive rapport goes a long way.
6. Karma is Actually Not a *****
This one is less of a necessity, and more of a suggestion. What makes games more fun (besides winning)? Having a lively interaction with your teammates. Did Leona just save your life with a perfectly placed Solar Flare? Thank her. Did your jungler just execute an excellent gank? Thank them. Did your team just blow through the other team in a fight because you've been taking my advice? Thank me (just kidding~ throw out a "good job team" or the like. praise feels good to give and get). People are more likely to play better if they know that you appreciate their hard work.
7. League of Sportsmanship
Can't believe I'm writing this one down, but one of the most hated things about League of Legends is the awful community (parts of it anyway). Cussing out and mocking your opponents in all chat is just asking to be ostracized. Is it helping you? Absolutely not. So don't do it. And if they aren't returning you the favor of healthy play, ignore them. No need to call out "I'm muting you!" Just mute them. The best payback for unsportsmanlike behavior? Beating their sorry ***es into the ground while you dance over their corpes. No not really, but you get the idea. Toxic players are a pain, and you lose arguments with them by engaging. If the toxic player is on your team, politely ask them to stop yelling at people. If they continue to, 9x mute, 9x report. (And @anyonewhodoestribunal, permaban please?)
8. Kills =/= Skills
Ok, so that Vayne who goes 30/0 every single game is clearly a good player, but kills don't linearly scale in relation to a player's skill. Your team's Kassadin who went 4-6 could have contributed a lot to the game, maybe more so than your team's Jayce who went 20/20. Remember to keep it together and have fun, and don't judge others based solely on their KDA (this isn't COD). This leads me to another important point, don't risk everything you have for kills. Don't chase enemies through unwarded areas. There are high risk high reward plays, and then there are just stupid plays. Learn the difference and you'll see success.